Adrian Dater of the Denver Post suggests the Colarado Avalanche might keep youngster Tyson Barrie the only blue liner other than Elliott who doesn’t have to clear waivers for demotion up in the NHL, and carry eight defenseman. Barrie has performed well in his role as top-four D-man in the absence of Johnson and Wilson. However, coach Joe Sacco won’t keep a grip on the 21-year-old unless regular on-ice minutes are still in play.

“That’s the key for any young player. He needs to play,” Sacco said. “He hasn’t been taken out yet; he’s been pretty consistent as far as his minutes and ability to play in different situations for us. We’ll just see how it plays out I don’t want to make any presumptions until those other two guys (Johnson, Wilson) re back.”

A trade is another a possibilityRyan O’Byrne is poised to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 28-year-old could attract some attention from other clubs looking to add an experienced, physical presence to their blue line. Matt Hunwick is also considered to be expendable. Regardless of where the Avs sit in the Western standings (currently tied for 12th with the Calgary Flames), a move involving a blueliner before the early-April trade deadline is a good possibility.

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